Covid hospitalisations triple in UK Indian variant hotspot as area battles outbreak

The number of people in hospital battling Covid in the Indian variant hotspot town of Bolton has more than tripled, it is understood.

Bolton currently has the highest infection rate in England, and is a hotspot for the Indian variant.

Most recent data showed the town has an infection rate of 450.7 cases per 100,000 residents – which is a week on week rise of 60 per cent.

NHS England figures show that the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust was treating 24 Covid patients on May 18. A month earlier, on April 18, that figure was 13.

The MEN understands there are now 43 patients being treated for the virus at the Royal Bolton Hospital, with ten more people admitted since Sunday.

People queue in Bolton
The latest figures are a stark rise from weeks ago

This is the highest figure since March, when case rates across the region were in the process of falling following a spike early in the year.

Two deaths related to Covid-19 were recorded at the Royal Bolton NHS Trust last week, bringing the total number of those who have lost their lives to the virus in Bolton up to 650.

Over the same period there was one other death recorded in Greater Manchester, by Salford Royal NHS Trust.

At the height of the pandemic last year, there were six wards at the Royal Bolton turned over to coronavirus

patients, with as many as 170 people being treated there.

Elsewhere, Blackburn with Darwen has the second highest rate with 280.6 cases, followed by Bedford, Kirklees, Rossendale, Burnley, Hyndburn, Bury and Manchester.

Leicester comes 12th on the list, with Hounslow 14th and North Tyneside 15th.

It comes after the Government advised against all but essential travel in and out of eight English areas worst affected by the Indian variant.

That covers several areas of the UK where the variant is believed to be spreading fastest – Bedford, Blackburn and Darwen, Bolton, Burnley, Kirklees, Leicester, Hounslow, and North Tyneside.

People queue in Bolton
The government has updated its guidance for Indian strain hit areas

The information was posted in an online update at last week (May 21) but it does not appear to have been accompanied by an official announcement.

This reportedly sparked confusion among local leaders in Bolton who claimed they were not told about the guidance.

It states that journeys to and from areas affected by the Indian variant throughout the UK should be avoided, ‘unless essential’.

Exemptions include work – if you cannot work from home – and education.

The Government recommends people in areas affected by the new strain should get tested twice a week, work from home if possible and take the vaccine when it is offered.

Local leaders and health bosses in Bolton were reportedly unaware of the new Government guidance, according to the Manchester Evening News.

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